The station originally opened in 1858 to the east of its present location as "Newington Road & Balls Pond" and was renamed "Canonbury" shortly before the move to its present site in 1870. In 1253 land in the area was granted to the Canons of St Bartholomew’s Priory, Smithfield and became known as Canonbury. The area continued predominantly as open land until it was developed as a suburb in the early 19th century. In common with similar inner London areas, it suffered decline when the construction of railways in the 1860s enabled commuting into the city from further afield. The gentrification of the area from the 1950s included new developments to replace war-damaged properties in Canonbury Park North and South as well as restoration of older buildings. Canonbury Tower - The manor house of Canonbury was constructed by William Bolton of St Bartholomew’s Priory between 1509 and 1532. At the dissolution it was granted to Thomas Cromwell. In the 1590s the manor house was rebuilt by Sir John Spencer, Lord Mayor of the City of London, including the construction of its tower. The tower has been occupied by many historical figures, including Francis Bacon and Oliver Goldsmith. George Orwell moved to 27b Canonbury Square in the autumn of 1944 - he and his wife having been bombed out of their previous flat, in Mortimer Crescent, on 28 June 1944. Evelyn Waugh lived at 17a Canonbury Square from 1928 to 1930. Charles Dickens wrote a Christmas story about a lamplighter in Canonbury, which features the Tower.
In 2007, the ticket office was extensively refurbished, as part of the station upgrade programme delivered through conversion to London Overground. On 1 June 2010, as a result of the East London Line extension, North London Line services were rerouted to the newly constructed platforms 3 and 4, with the East London Line trains now using refurbished platforms 1 and 2. Since the northern extension of the East London Line, which was completed and opened in March 2011, Canonbury station has had four platforms, giving interchange between the London Overground East London Line (ELL) and North London Line (NLL) with step-free access to all platforms and peak service frequencies of 12 trains per hour in each direction. To the west of the station is the Canonbury curve, a freight-only connection through the Canonbury tunnel to the East Coast Main Line at Finsbury Park. The station is in Travelcard Zone 2 and has wi-fi, lifts, boarding ramps, waiting room and a bridge but no toilets.
Connections: London Overground (East London Line). London Buses routes 30, 277 and 236 serve the station.